Indians are going to the movies to ‘escape slowing economy’, says cinema owner

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NEW DELHI: Cinemas are seeing brisk business even as India’s economy slows to a six-year low and unemployment swells, according to PVR Cinemas, the largest operator of multi-screen theatres across the country.

Ever since the box-office hit Kabir Singh released in June, even films with small budgets or less-recognizable actors are drawing the crowds, Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer (CEO) at PVR Pictures, had said in a previous interview to a local news outlet.

Results for July-September will “definitely surprise a lot of people,” he said, declining to elaborate.

“I think the slowdown is helping the cinema business,” Gianchandani said. “There is negativity around and people want to escape it.”

PVR’s business, which was hit by the cricket world cup in the April-June quarter, has revived since then, Gianchandani said. Footfalls, which rose about 20% in the quarter, will “remain strong,” though the economic slowdown may hurt advertising, according to a report by Edelweiss Securities Ltd. in August.